Monday, January 24, 2011


By Joe Chelliah

According to a report in Utusan Malaysia last week, the sound balancing and engineering at the live show by Jamal Abdillah at Istana Budaya was "memekak". It was perhaps ruined by over-powering the live sound and paying less attention to the finer aspects of sound balancing and equalization.

Too loud music seems to be an axiom for any kind of live music situation these days – from rock and disco to lounge and dinner settings. It is indeed sad that one single person could have ruined an otherwise excellent show. The live sound reinforcement system used branded Meyer/EV speakers and the digital mixing console used was a state-of-the art and latest Yamaha PM5D already available in Malaysia.

It is sad to note that although most soundmen in Malaysia may be technically proficient they may not musically trained to be more efficient sound balancers as well. Different genres of music require different mixes. I feel that a trained musician must always be at the mixing console to assist and advise the soundman / engineer as necessary. Music show producers and TV stations should pay more attention to this very important aspect of any live musical show production. Not too long ago, most of radio and TV producers for musical programs at RTM were musicians too. Names like Din Osman, Eddie Francis, Hamidon Zain and Basharuddin come to mind.

Our "popular" soundmen of today should be sent overseas on secondment to understudy live show situations and to gain a better understanding and knowledge of how others can do it so well in a practical way. I was amazed at the live sound production at George Benson's recent show at Genting's Arena of Stars even though the venue is not known for perfect acoustics like the IB auditorium.

A related ministry such as KPKK can also do this as part of our overall music industry development in Malaysia. Actually MACP too can do too it since it already has an enviable music industry development fund. I am not sure how this MACP fund is being utilized except for some Cipta Xpress get togethers of Malaysian composers at Tioman, Port Dickson and so on. If sending our soundmen to USA or Europe is too expensive we could also send them to India to learn and observe the sound and music masters there at Bollywood or Kollywood.

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